It's no secret that most people have a gossip about something or other, maybe about the new employee who's starting in the office next week, or their ex's new 22-year-old beau. At the end of the day, it's human nature, we all love a good gossip now and again, if for no other reason than to let off some steam.
Whilst most gossip can be construed as harmless, the problem seems to arise when the intent behind the gossip is a more harmful one, causing the rumours to spread like wildfire. The issue with this is, eventually, the gossip will reach the source. By the time this happens, the story has become so misconceived and ludicrous, that the damage is then, more-often-than-not, unrepairable.
What people don't consider when they're revelling in the rumour-spreading process is the effect it will inevitably have on the person(s) the rumour is about. Sure, a lot of people have the ability to let insensitive situations such as these roll right off their backs, however this is hardly the case for everyone.
Some people may have had bad experiences in the past regarding having rumours and gossip spread about them, experiences that still scar them to this present day. They may have been so affected by false rumours, that they had no choice but to change schools, or jobs; therefore completely uprooting and inconveniencing their lives. Rumours can cause irreparable damage. Not just to someone's general life settings, but to their mental well-being, which in turn can then cause more issues in their personal and professional lives.
When I used to be gossiped about at university (and believe me, I was gossiped about a lot), it's safe to say that I didn't handle it quite so well as I do these days. Knowing that people were getting enjoyment from discussing me and my personal life and shunning me because they chose to believe the rumours they heard about me... it left me in a very dark and lonely place. But thankfully, I managed to move on with my life.
Not everyone possesses this kind of resilience, and the damage caused by rumours can stay with some people a lot longer. And that's what people need to realise - that the rumours they're spreading affects and impacts upon people, sometimes irreversibly.
This especially rings true when considering the staggeringly-high number of people who commit suicide every year due to being a victim of bullying. People who may see rumour-spreading as nothing more as 'banter' need to start contemplating the fact that to someone who's mentally and/or emotionally vulnerable, being the pivot of others' gossip-wheel is a lot more than just banter.
So, understand that your words and actions have meaning. Don't do something to someone that you wouldn't want done to yourself. I'm not expecting miracles here; I know how unlikely it is that there will ever be a mass-revelation amongst people and suddenly everyone will start treating each other with nothing but kindness and respect, but everyone should at least start realising that a little kindness can go a long way...
A Moodscope member.